Vision and Method in Global Historical Sociology

Julian Go, University of Chicago
George Lawson, Australian National University

Global Historical Sociology is the study of two interrelated dynamics: first, the transnational and global dynamics that enable the emergence, reproduction, and breakdown of social orders; and second, the historical emergence, reproduction, and breakdown of transnational and global social forms. The first of these dynamics provides the “global”; the second constitutes the “historical sociology”. With this emphasis on the transnational and global, Global Historical Sociology as an intellectual project emerges from the subfield of historical sociology even as it seeks to extend it. As with previous iterations of historical sociology, global historical sociology must answer questions about how the project is to be realized: does global historical sociology presuppose a particular methodology or strategy of explanation? What constitutes evidence in global historical sociology? In short: how is work in this idiom to be done? This paper proposes three foundations for global historical sociology: historicism, methodological relationalism, and an inter-social approach. It then applies these foundations to two case studies: colonial policing and revolutions. Taken together, these foundations and empirical illustrations demonstrate the vision and method of global historical sociology.

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 Presented in Session 175. What is the "Historical" In Historical Sociology?